SUNRISE, FLA. – In the land of retirees and senior-citizen discounts, Jaromir Jagr once again showed the hockey world Sunday night that there's a lot of vigor left in those old bones.
In a game in which the Wild outplayed the Florida Panthers but couldn't beat backup goalie Al Montoya more than once, the ageless 43-year-old future Hall of Famer and soon-to-be Atlantic Division All-Star team captain scored both goals to lead the hottest team in the NHL to a 2-1 victory.
Jagr, the Panthers' leading scorer, extended their franchise-record win streak to nine games. The Panthers, who have won 13 of the past 16 games, completed a 6-0 homestand as the Wild fell to 1-1-1 on a road trip that ends Tuesday in Columbus.
"As long as I've been around him since before I was in the league, he's been finding a way to do it," coach Mike Yeo said of Jagr, who scored his first goal only 27 seconds into the game. "I'm not too surprised."
Jagr's winner 8:52 into the third looked like vintage Jagr. Once the victim of the Panthers in the 1996 Florida-Pittsburgh Eastern Conference final, Jagr flew into the offensive zone, backed off Marco Scandella, cut to the middle and whistled a beauty against the grain by a Mikko Koivu screen that Devan Dubnyk also said deflected off Koivu's shin pad.
"It's funny. He's not that good of a skater. Never has been," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "But he just comes down and creates so much separation. It opened up for him. The fact that he's still doing it is pretty impressive."
Last month, Jagr begged fans on Twitter to stop giving him All-Star Game votes. The top vote-getter for each division would be named captain and have to attend. Jagr said 3-on-3 would kill him, tweeting, "I don't want to die yet."
Well, the poor guy won. Speaking about the "honor" for the first time after Sunday's performance, the grayed, grizzled Jagr said: "I asked the fans don't vote for me, and they didn't listen. I think they didn't like me much, so they wanted to see me dead.
"Probably the fans think I need to get into shape. I don't deserve the rest. Everybody else is going to have vacation, and I've got to play 3-on-3. That's great."
It's been a jolly time lately for a franchise that has made the playoffs once since 2000.
But at 5-on-5, the Wild controlled play and registered 39 shots overall against Montoya. Jason Zucker's goal 48 seconds into the second was the his only blemish, and that came on a rebound after Montoya initially robbed Zucker.
The Wild, which entered the game having been shorthanded a league-low 89 times, killed five Panthers power plays. But its 29th-ranked road power play went 0-for-4, including one inside the final five minutes with a chance to tie. The Wild had nine shots on the power play.
"A lot of movement, a lot of zone time, just not a lot of goals," Yeo said.
The Wild got some great even-strength shifts from recently struggling vets such as Jason Pominville and youngsters such as Mikael Granlund. It got five shots from Matt Dumba, four from a clearly laboring Zach Parise and a career-high eight shots from Suter.
"Al played really well," Suter said of his former USA Hockey teammate. "I hit him in the knob on the first one. We had good looks."
Added Yeo: "It's too bad. It was one of our better road games, but we didn't put the puck in the net and came away shorthanded."